Candidates for National President

James Butler

Warwick Students' Union

Ayo Falana

University of Wolverhampton Students' Union

Calvin Jansz

University of Brighton Students' Union 

Larissa Kennedy

Warwick Students' Union

Nelly Kibirige

London South Bank University Students' Union

Joshua Muirhead

University of Stirling Students' Union

Erica Ramos

National Union of Students

 

James Butler, Warwick Students' Union

 

Hi! I'm James Butler and I'm a 20-year-old conservative from Hastings. I'm standing because the National Union of Students requires not only an financial restructuring to pull itself from the brink, but a political enema. Accusations of the NUS being undemocratic, unrepresentative, and unaccountable have not been made unfounded as of recent changes, rather lent further legitimacy. Until the NUS moves towards a genuinely student-focused model, rather than a soapbox for the most radical, it will continue this death spiral of mass student disengagement. I pledge to campaign against these self-destructive forces for a Genuine National Union of Students.

Nominated by: Henry Rollison, Bangor University Students' Union; Charlotte Earl, Warwick Students' Union; Jake Scott, University of Birmingham Guild of Students; Toby Watson, University of Sheffield Students' Union; Ben Sweeney, Cambridge University Students' Union; Derya Khalulpour, University of West of England Students' Union; Neil Richardson, Ulster University Students' Union

Social Media: 

Information requested but none provided by the deadline

Manifesto:

Information requested but none provided by the deadline

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Ayo Falana University of Wolverhampton Students' Union

 

I am the current Union Affairs at the University of Wolverhampton SU. Previously, I was the Vice President at University of East London SU. Through my past and present experience, I have developed a good understanding of students in cosmopolitan society like London and a quiet environment like Wolverhampton. I have help to initiate campaigns and programs that are beneficial and meet student needs. Out of issues affecting students in the UK, I have always been tackling issues around fees, BAME attainment gap &welfare which are dare to my heart and I will like to tackle at National level.

Nominated by: Ifeoluwa Osakuade, Queen's University Belfast Students' Union; Calvin Sarah-Wilson, University of Westminster Students' Union; Motunrayo Omotade, Bournemouth University Students' Union; Hano Jibril Lawal, Cranfield University Students' Association; OA Adesua, University of Birmingham Guild of Students; Oluwatobi Falana, University of Wolverhampton Students' Union; Aminu Lawal, University of Bristol Students' Union; Ibukunoluwa Oyinka, University of Liverpool

Social media:

  • https://www.facebook.com/falana.ayo
  • https://twitter.com/ayofalana
  • https://www.instagram.com/ayfalana/?hl=en
  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/ayofalana/

Manifesto:

Restoration of Hope

It has been a great privilege to be the Union Affairs officer at the University of Wolverhampton Students’ Union whilst studying for a PhD in Biomedical Science. Having been a former Vice President at the University of East London Students’ Union, I can say that Higher Education is faced with so much unpredictability currently. With uncertainty such as Brexit and various issues facing students such as FEES, BAME attainment gap, declining international reputation, recruiting the right people, providing value for money, gender inequality and host of other issues affecting the higher and further education sector. I believe the need for the right leadership is needed and more important than ever before.

Through my past and present experience, I have developed a good understanding of students in a cosmopolitan society like London and a quiet environment like Wolverhampton. I have helped to initiate campaigns and programmes that are beneficial and meet student needs. Regarding issues which affect students in the UK, I have campaigned and won victories in relation to fees, BAME attainment gap and welfare which are dear to my heart and I would like to tackle at National level.

1. Free Education

The 2017 UK general election spoke volumes when students came out to vote for free education and the strength of their voice earned a response from the government. The government responded by setting up an independent review into fees and funding in post-18 education and universities are nervously awaiting its verdict. I believe now is the time to act to ensure free education for all which is the hope I am giving all students.

What have I done in the past?

I actively participated in the NOV19 2016 National Demo United for Education protest against fees in the UK

I signed a letter to voice my disquiet against TEF as an unreliable test for University teaching. The letter appeared in The Guardian in 2016.

As your National President, I will have a massive protest on the streets in the United Kingdom with the focal point of protests to be held in central London and an all UK students strike until fees are abolished. (2020 United Kingdom Student protest)

I will ensure that tuition fees are not linked labour market and inflation.

2. BAME Attainment Gap

When elected as the Union Affairs officer at my Students’ Union, I promised to help tackle the BAME attainment gap which currently sits at 26% nationally. I cannot be more than happy to know that the University and the sector as a whole are doing something around the BAME attainment gap.

What have I done?

I launched a campaign called the BBA campaign “Belong, Believe and Achieve”. This campaign focuses around celebrating BAME students’ success, by highlighting profiles of BAME students and alumni. BAME students’ stories were presented in a variety of ways, with the aim of gaining greater insight into BAME students’ perceptions and how these are linked to a sense of belonging at the University. https://www.wlv.ac.uk/current-students/news/october-2019/believe-belong-achieve-listening-to-bame-students-educational-experiences.php

I have presented at workshops and been invited to speak on 2 panels to speak on the BAME attainment gap

As your National President I will create a Central Hub for Universities to share and adapt examples of good practice

I will run a nationwide campaign of BBA “Belong, Believe and Achieve” in all higher and further education sector.

I will work with Universities to incorporate the elimination of gaps in success (attainment and continuation) in their APP targets, and in doing so to raise skills levels and meet local needs.

3. International Students/ Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

It is no news that the UK culture is no longer welcoming to international students because of high tuition fees, egregious IHS surcharge fee (£400/yr.), and unwelcoming culture after finish of study. They are often classed as immigrants and sometimes as criminals, with most even faced with threats of deportation, despite the fact that international students generate about £20b for the UK economy on an annual basis. Some of our Universities even have policy that prohibits the University from refunding the deposit fee if a student’s visa is refused.

What have I done?

I successfully lobbied my current University to change their policy around the tuition fee deposit for international students. Hence, the international tuition fee deposit is now refundable.

I have lobbied my University to start paying the NHS IHS surcharge for international students without any impact on their fees.

I have ensured that international students have access to the hardship fund at my university.

As your National President, I will launch a national campaign to change the policy of tuition fee deposit refund if visas are refused.

I will launch a nationwide campaign that will make the university responsible for payment of the Immigration Health surcharge without increasing tuition or to scrap the IHS.

I will ensure that international students have access to a hardship fund in their various universities for those who need them.

4. Restore Democracy and Liberation groups

NUS would be nothing without outward facing campaigns and liberation officers representing black, LGBTQ+, Trans, disabled, women and international students. If we are going to be making cuts within NUS, I think we should not be making cuts to our liberation and democracy. I have never been so shocked in my life than not seeing any liberation full-time positions on the nomination list.

As your National President, getting rid of liberation officers is very dangerous and I will campaign to ensure that they are all restored.

5. A Parliamentary NUS

It is not uncommon that a typical officer at a typical students’ union does not know what goes on within the NUS other than Newsletter. Most often don’t know how to get involved or how policies and motions are passed.

As your National President, I will ensure every students’ union is duly represented by at least 1 or 2 officer/student from every students’ union/college to scrutinize and hold the NUS executive officers to account for a more sustainable and accountable NUS.

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Calvin Jansz University of Brighton Students' Union 

 

My name is Calvin Jude Jansz and I'm standing to serve each of you as NUS President. It's time we level the playing field and make equity a resounding message to break down barriers. This campaign is very much your campaign for a sustainable education that abolishes the degree awarding gap, ensures post-study work rights for internationals students, tackles harassment and sexual violence on campus and delivers on affordable transportation and housing. Above all else, we need to redefine value for money. This is not just about shifting politics, it's about shifting society, together.

Nominated by: Ramy Badrie, University of Brighton Students' Union; Sasha Langeveldt, Kent Union; Maariya Malik, Students' Union UCL; Amy Seymour, University of Sussex Students' Union; Paige McCalla, Middlesex University Students' Union; Amy Holloway-Smith, University of Hertfordshire Students' Union; Christina Demetriou, Bucks Students' Union

Social media:

  • Twitter - Calvin4NUS - https://twitter.com/Calvin4NUS?lang=en
  • Instagram - Calvin4NUS - https://www.instagram.com/calvin4nus/

Manifesto:

My name is Calvin Jansz and I am standing in the National Union of Students elections to become your next President. I am the incumbent President of the University of Brighton Students’ Union and the chair of our Board of Trustees. Over the past year I have reshaped the strategic vision of Brighton Student’s Union to ensure students at the University of Brighton are receiving the best possible experience and to eliminate intersections of inequality that transcend the parameters of the traditional classroom. Mental health has rightly become the dominant policy issue of our time, but we fail to address what often falls between the cracks: how inequalities such as socio-economic background, ethnicity and social capital intersect with declared mental health conditions and pose further obstacles to access to education. This approach heavily influenced my time at Brighton SU and through it I successfully lobbied for an integrated approach to not only mental health and student wellbeing, but a range of critical services that are so desperately lacking across the sector and continue to put our students at a disadvantage. As a sector, we must opt-in to such an approach. What I find lacking is the absence of an integrated and preventative approach that ensures every facet of university provision can enable students to thrive: social space, student finance, work life balance, widening participation, student services, accommodation and transportation. This is very much about the sector, regulatory forces, universities, policies, and curriculum adapting in a way that lends itself to being highly visible about the work being done on this front, steering clear from performative happiness and having difficult conversations that produce real change. We also need to effectively address harassments and sexual misconduct, which are prevalent in campuses around the country. The recent OfS consultation is just a starting point, but it should not have taken us this long to openly talk about these matters while many students continue to suffer in silence. We need not only to be the voice for those who often go unheard, but eliminate every barriers that has resulted in their voice being muted so they can have the platform they deserve.

My time at Brighton SU has also seen the launch of an Education Campaign to decolonise the curriculum and remove barriers for underrepresented groups, as well as ensure funding for assistive technologies for students with visible as well as invisible disabilities. I pioneered an affordability agenda to lobby for secure, accessible and affordable housing and transport for our students. Institutional affordability needs to be standing agenda item across the sector. And we need to continue taking steps to deal with the climate breakdown before it is too late. I successfully lobbied my University to declare a climate emergency and we must see commitments from institutions across the country on this front, with targeted actions plans to back it up. Having worked on these issues, as well as a number of others, I believe that I have a clear track record of delivering meaningful change, which will enable me to effectively lead the NUS in this, its centennial year, and deliver a national student voice. We find ourselves currently living in a very tumultuous time, both politically and socially, and I believe that the most effective way forward is a pragmatic approach to politics. For far too long I have only seen the NUS fighting against proposed change and seeing no real, tangible results, but I believe that by working alongside our contemporaries that we will have the opportunity to make a real difference and positively impact students’ lives. This is not just a vision statement. It’s a concrete plan that paves the way to concrete outcomes.

This pragmatic approach is, I maintain, the most constructive and progressive form of leadership, but it is not without its barriers and that is where I would not be afraid to take a radical stance in opposition to any issues that are adversely affecting the lives of our students. Our current political climate has seen a rise of, and arguably paved the way for, unbridled racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism and a general disturbing upsurge in mainstream discrimination across our society. These issues clearly must be tackled head-on, and we cannot allow ourselves to make any concessions in this regard. I believe in setting in-depth, tangible aims in order to achieve our desired outcome, but also ones that are flexible and adaptable enough to be able to cope with change, particularly so in this tumultuous political and social climate that we currently see ourselves in.

We need to work far more closely with our member students’ unions to empower them to get directly involved in this work with us. We owe it to them. Inadequate provision and skyrocketing costs of housing and transportation are just some of the major issues facing unions across the country and we have to take real action on this front, with them. We must also reshape further and higher education and the increasing marketization of the sector, which has detrimentally impacted students and added to the uncertainty they face. Resources have been reduced and instead, the quality of learning and teaching are measured by metrics such as the NSS and TEF, which we cannot continue to treat as a substitute. I am also keen to play a very attentive role not only to the needs of students that NUS represent across England, but also to that of those students who are often overlooked by NUS UK in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. If elected, I would fight for their voice and the individual battles that they struggle with day-to-day. Students in Scotland have to worry about rising housing costs, whether in privately owned accommodation or University halls of residents, financial support with regards to bursaries and students loans, but I would also support the implementation of a real living wage in order to help support students through their time in education. Students in Wales have struggled with being able to access free and properly funded mental health and wellbeing support services, which I believe should be readily available wherever they may live, and in whatever their chosen first language is; they have also struggled for representation at all levels of post-16 education to give students greater political autonomy and decision-making abilities about the issues affecting them; as well as similar problems with student housing being both safe and affordable. Students in NUS-USI have also campaigned for a properly funded tertiary/post-16 education system that allows them to continue their education without the concerns of tuition fees, and to help grow the skill-based sector; I would advocate for a greater reform with regards to consent, following the survey conducted in spring 2019.

And in looking to all of this, we cannot lose sight of the impact of Brexit. Rather than get bogged down in the politics of all of it, we need to ensure we are actively working with all stakeholders to deliver the best possible outcome for students across the country. We also need to remain committed to our international students and the uncertainty they face with post-study work rights. The proposed graduate route must go into effect and we need to ensure increasing rights for these students and fighting to protect Erasmus. As a leader, I would wholeheartedly lobby for all these things and I would take this fight to the government and also to unions across the country to make sure we are effectively enabling them to tackle these challenges and to fight together for our collective future. It is time we move beyond talk and take clear action that removes the barriers which continue to plague the sector and the lives of students. We must level the playing field, once and for all.

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Larissa Kennedy Warwick Students' Union 

 

The student movement has been my home since I was 16 years old. I have organised against sexual violence since college and together we have marched against student fees and as a member of the black students campaign I have continued to fight racism on our campuses. You have elected me once to serve on your National Executive Council, and now I ask you again to elect me as your National President. I will energise, equip and mobilise the grassroots of our movement to drive forward our vision of a truly free,  accessible and lifelong education.

Nominated by: Hamsavani Rajeswaren, Queen's University Belfast Students' Union; Lubaba Khalid, University of Westminster Students' Union; Barbara Pereira, Leeds Beckett Students' Union; Aoife Clarke, Heriot-Watt University Student Union; Fraser Amos, Warwick Students' Union; Muna Ali, Union of Kingston Students; Sarah Lasoye, Students' Union UCL; Mohammad Kadham, Cardiff University Students' Union

Social media: 

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/larissakennedy.warwick.5
  • Twitter: @Larissa_Ken
  • Instagram:@larissaforpresident

Manifesto:

My name is Larissa, and the student movement has been my home since I was 16 years old. I have organised against sexual violence since college and, together, we have marched against student fees. As National President, I want to see NUS into its 100th year, and secure it for another 200!

This is a turning point for our national union. In the last 100 years, NUS has campaigned against Apartheid, introduced liberation campaigns and stood against war. In the next century, we must respond to the plans to destroy education, challenge the growing far right and mobilise to respond to the climate catastrophe. We need to build a movement that stretches across the whole of the UK, across Students’ and Trade Unions across the world. Together, that is the movement we can build.

My Activist Experience

● NUS National Executive Council and Black Students Campaign Committee

● Education Officer and Deputy President of Warwick Students’ Union

● Advocacy and Campaigns Officer for Plan International, a global gender equality charity

● Tuwezeshe Akina Dada Fellow, working against gender-based violence internationally

● Elected to British Youth Council’s Trustee Board

● Former President of Warwick Anti-Racism Society and Anti-Sexism Society

Rebuilding Power in the Nations and Regions - We have a common interest as students but the problems we face differ, from North to South, Wales to Scotland and Northern Ireland, and our Union needs to do more to support students across our regions and nations. To do this, we will:

● Introduce regional bootcamps for student organisers - for the first time including activists and officers together

● Work with regional community organisations to co-develop supplementary schools where FE and HE students working to drive change can pass on their tools and skills

Reclaiming our National Power - The sector is in crisis, from college funding being cut year on year to our higher education institutions continually putting profit before students. Failure to take action now will devastate us for the future. If elected I will:

● Campaign to bring back EMA and increase FE funding.

● Work in collaboration with the National Society of Apprentices for better pay and conditions, stronger protections against harassment, and genuine involvement with the NUS

● Push back on precarity - create a network of postgrads and student staff to work alongside UCU and other trade unions to make conditions better in education for all.

● Build collective resistance to dismantling of small, specialist universities.

● Reject the higher tariff placed on STEM courses.

● Fight for Free Education and to democratise our Colleges, Universities and Unions.

Further Education and Apprentices - Over 70% of our membership are in FE. With severe funding cuts and staff losses the fights within FE and HE are often seen as separate, I will unite our fights to ensure we fight together for a stronger education system that benefits us all. I will:

● Ensure NUS events include Apprentices, FE students and introduce travel bursaries

● Work with our VP FE to tackle the attainment gap and the pay disparity for apprenticeships

● Involve the National Society of Apprentices in our democratic structures, fight for free travel, better wages, stronger protections against harassment and more opportunities.

Welfare, Housing and Mental Health - From extortionate rents to mental health crises, across HE and FE students are being let down. NUS must fight to ensure our mental health support is culturally competent and the transition from CAMHS to adult services is made easier. I will:

● Fight for not for profit halls and genuinely affordable housing.

● Support student housing campaigns, building regional links to renters’ unions, educating students on their renting rights and empowering them to fight dodgy landlords.

● Ensure accommodation is genuinely accessible to disabled students.

● Ensure institutions become guarantors for international students.

Supporting International Students and ending the Hostile Environment - The current environment of xenophobia, amplified by the election, is having an insidious impact on international students’ lives and rights. Working with the International Students’ Campaign, I will:

● Campaign against fees, fee rises and the NHS surcharge that international students face

● Resist securitisation and the Prevent Duty, conducting research into its effects on student organisers

● Pushing for a full-time International Students Officer after reform

● Fight to stop deportations, close detention centres, and demand justice over Windrush

No more harassment and violence on our campuses - We must not relent in the fight against hate crime, sexual harassment and racial harrassment on our campuses. I’ve galvanised students across campus to fight sexism and racism, and, as your President, I will do it across the country.

● Campaign for Universities to go beyond the data-led, and dehumanising, ‘hate crime’ narrative, and to address the ways that its existing reporting structures denying students support, when they need it most.

● Providing co-created frameworks for robust responses to all forms of sexual and gender-based, racist, homophobic, ableist violence, that acknowledge how these injustices are reproduced by institutions - including guidance for restorative justice (where appropriate)

● Lobbying the government to act upon the recommendations of the Youth Select Committee Inquiry into serious violence, to actively tackle how knife crime impacts access to further education

International Solidarity - To make the case and realise our aims for climate justice, free education and social justice, we must combine our voices with the power of students who share this vision across the world. As your President, I will make international solidarity a reality on:

● Climate justice - The global south is already bearing the brunt of the climate emergency, we must act now. Current trends and plans show that the global south will be devastated in the next few decades, with decisions made by our government.

● Free education - I will work with national unions across the world to host a global rally for education, connecting to those fighting for free, accessible, lifelong education. around the world. We must also connect our struggles for decolonisation, demilitarisation and divestment and co-producing research and resources to resist the dilution of these campaigns, and make the case amongst other students and with the university.

● Global social justice issues - I will support and connect students and unions exposing universities’ complicity in issues like the slave trade and redressing these wrongs through curricula and financial reparations.

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Nelly Kibirige London South Bank University Students' Union

 

Hello membership, my name is Nelly Kibirige and I am the first two term president at London South Bank University SU. You may remember me from when I ran for National President last year and came a very close 2nd! Since then, I’ve created a network of Presidents nationally, working with them and their officers on issues affecting students across the UK, including changing the way student loans work for students. Proudly secured an All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting on student funding. I’m experienced in successfully turning around and restructuring LSBSU, therefore, I am now ready to be your National President!

Nominated by: Suntosh Kaur, University of Central Lancashire Students' Union; Tendo Meseorisa, Solent Students' Union (Southampton Solent); Liam Rogers, Newman University Students' Union; Hannah Prydderch, Lancaster University Students' Union; Adesewa Ogunyomi, Lambeth College Students' Union; Dan O’Donoghue, Roehampton Students' Union; Diini Muse, London Metropolitan University Students' Union

Social media:

  • LinkedIn:  http://linkedin.com/in/nellykibirige
  • Work Twitter:   @lsbsunelly
  • Personal Twitter:    @nelly1k
  • Insta:  @nellykibirige_lsbu
  • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lsbsupresident

Manifesto:

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY 

Nelly #1 for President 

Hashtag: #Nelly4prez        Email: nellyfab1k@icloud.com       Twitter: @nelly1k 

Hello! I’m Nelly Kibirige – President, London South Bank University Students’ Union. I’m running to be your National President, because it’s time to do things differently. 

There’s no one size fits all approach in education! I’ve had a non-traditional journey through education, experiencing FE and HE at public and alternative providers. 10years, 4 children, and countless challenges along the way, I knew that like thousands of students across the country, I was doing this to give my children something more. My time at College and University changed my life - overcoming sofa-surfing, domestic abuse, mental health challenges and systematic barriers - but too many students slip through the cracks. 

Across Britain and Ireland, students’ unions have sounded that the time for talk in NUS is over. We’ve Brexited, divided politics, deportations, the Augur review and student poverty drowning us, it’s time for a national President who spends their time doing what YOU need them to do. Campaigning and winning with, and for students.  It’s the job of SUs to ensure that no one is left behind, and that’s why as your President, I’ll do things differently.  

Mum that gets it done:  

●Started the first ever students’ union at my college initiating campus-wide elections and a student representation structure because student voice matters. 

●My impeccable stakeholder engagement skills secured up-to 500 paid placements for students, ensuring they had requisite work experience to pass their course. Other students have benefited from well-being rooms, Officer flexible working, major global businesses including Bloomberg, London Stock Exchange, Euronext,. opening their doors to my students, winning employment opportunities and amplifying diverse voices now and in the future. 

●I’ve built bridges between key stakeholders and students on the ground. My societies have links to local councillors, and my forensic science students have a unique link with a local coroner. As your President, I will build links between your union and key allies across the UK 

●As the lead officer in the 1st ever university/college merger in the country, I ensured they couldn't ignore students in the process - and I'll do this nationally 

●Initiated a student loans campaign and worked with officers nationally to secure an APPG on student funding in Parliament, showing officers that their voices matter and together we CAN win for our students. 

A different way of rebuilding student activism: 

More than ever, students, students’ unions and the future of education are under sustained attack. It’s times like this, we need a unified and coherent National Student Voice. Our power comes from students, via their students’ unions as working alone leaves us isolated. 

As President, I will: 

●Deliver a student activism strategy for every single SU, ensuring collaboration, best practice and support directly for students’ unions. 

●Regalvanise our relationship with trade unions, community organisations such as Citizens UK, to extend students’ unions’ knowledge, reach and impact. 

●Ensure that SUs have up-to-date legal and governance advice, to facilitate - rather than undermine - vital student campaigning work. 

●Continue the what I’m doing, speaking on panels at UUK, I informed and responded to the Augar review, and defending students at every opportunity on every platform 

A different way of leading your national union: 

It’s no secret that NUS has had a difficult few years. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of collectivism, and that when students’ unions come together, we are unstoppable. But SUs need a national union that is open, transparent - one they can trust. 

As President, I will: 

●Pledge to be honest and open with Students’ Unions, particularly with difficult financial decisions we need to take.  

●Ensure that no matter our future democratic structures, the voices of nations, sections, liberation groups are heard and acted upon. 

●Spend my time listening to, and engaging with Students’ Unions - by being on campuses or available to contact regularly to ensure they’re prioritised by NUS 

A different way to Decolonise Pedagogy:  

I have contributed to a Bloomsbury-published book on Decolonising teaching based on a TRAAC model with a professor from the University of Greenwich! This sets out a step by step guide to inclusive teaching and will greatly impact the BAME attainment gap.  

As President, I will: 

●Demand that the Office for Students ensure that the access and participation agenda is representative and extends to working with students’ unions 

●Run a resource hub on attainment gaps so that students’ unions can collaborate and work together on the best tactics which deliver for students. UniWestminster have already initiated links with South Bank on this with me 

●Work with educational providers to give every students’ union in the country bespoke data on their attainment gaps - and support to deliver strategies to campaign for change. I have already started on this. 

Sunny Suntosh Kaur, UCLan SU President: 

‘Having worked closely with Nelly for 18months, I can confidently say there is no one I’d rather support for NUS President - she epitomises the power of black women in leadership and we’ve invited her to speak at our BAME women in leadership event in March! It’s clear that NUS and SUs’ need to do things radically different, and I believe Nelly is the person to effect that change.’ 

Adesewa Ogunyomi, President Lambeth College:

‘Nelly is a rarity in the student movement - a leader who has experience & knowledge of both higher and further education. It is important to have a National President who brings us together’ Nelly represents us all. 

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Joshua Muirhead University of Stirling Students' Union

 

Hi there! I'm Josh Muirhead and I'm the Vice-President Communities at Stirling Student Union.

I am running to be NUS UK President because I believe that, no matter who you are or where you come from, we all deserve the best opportunity to do well at college and university. I have experienced first-hand some of the barriers that exist for students. Despite all that has already been done, we must go further to ensure everyone has the best chance to succeed with their studies. With your help, I’d love to help bring down those barriers! Muirhead In The Right Direction!

Nominated by: Jennifer Park, Edinburgh Napier Students' Association (ENSA); Rebecca Wyman, New College Lanarkshire; Sean McConnell, Students' Association of the University of the West of Scotland; Lewis Kelly, GCU Students' Association; Edward Keeler, University of Stirling Students' Union; Owen Wright, University of Abertay Dundee Students' Association; Andrew Smirthwaite, Forth Valley College Students' Association

Social media:

  • https://www.facebook.com/joshua.t.muirhead
  • https://www.instagram.com/joshuamuirhead/
  • https://twitter.com/JoshuaMuirhead

Manifesto:

Hi there, my name is Josh Muirhead and I'm standing for election to be the next NUS UK President. 

So, a little about myself. During the last year I have been the Vice-President Communities at the University of Stirling Students’ Union where I have worked on several issues over the last year: gaining a fair rent deal for students with an increase to an accommodation enhancement fund; improving the university’s carbon footprint and overall actions on sustainability; pushing for the university to provide information sessions and support to our EU and international students; to name but a few! I believe my time as Vice-President at Stirling has helped provide knowledge and experience that I can use as NUS President. 

If elected as President, I aim to make progress in these areas: 

Everyone Needs a Home 

Across the UK student accommodation standards are falling, but somehow prices are still increasing in older buildings becoming unaffordable. While private companies and universities focus on creating newer and more expensive accommodation, they are creating a divide amongst students. It’s time for student associations and unions from across the UK to come together and campaign for a better, fairer deal on rent with stronger protections from abusive landlord practices.  

Loans are not the Answer 

I think we can all agree that education should be available to all. But this is quickly not becoming the case now. Having to pay a maximum of £9,250 a year is not a right; it’s a privilege. With rent increases, the cost of living rising can students really afford to go into lifelong debt just to have a suppose fair chance in life? We must break down the institutional and financial barriers that exist and one of doing this is to follow the Scottish educational model. Though not perfect, it provides a fair chance for all to attend further and higher education reducing the barriers that exist. This is first step to an education system that works for all. We must remove or at the very least minimise fees for education and bring in a bursary system that empowers students rather than the loan system which does nothing but degrades us all.  

If elected I will campaign for the decrease of fees, parity of funding between Further and Higher Education and more directed funding to meet social and economic needs working towards a free education system. It’s not the end goal but merely the first steps in the right direction. 

Taking students for a ride 

It’s no secret that transport companies the length and breadth of the UK are overpriced, outdated, and not fit for purpose. This isn’t a problem for only students but for society as a whole. The student movement in the form of both the NUS and it’s constituent members must work together with pressure groups and trade unions to see real meaningful change to our transport system. HS2 is not the answer; nor is an increase of cars on the road. Funding must be spread evenly throughout the transport network and be UK wide. As President I will campaign to improve this for not only students, but for everyone. 

Though not a massive amount of issues I believe those above will not be completed in the first 100 days of a new NUS administration, nor in it’s lifetime. However we must begin to start seeing the change we want to see. So let us begin and start Muirheading in the right direction. (Not sorry for the pun) 

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Erica Ramos National Union of Students

 

The next 2 years will be a defining period for the UK, for young people, students and our education system. It will be a defining period for our Unions, our Associations and our Guilds. I have decided to stand for NUS president to make sure that we are at the heart of the debate, shaping the issues and making sure that by 2022 we can be proud of the changes we have made. It’s time to make NUS relevant, confident and effective again. It’s time to change the world again, it’s time to #Roar4Ramos

Nominated by: Joshua Williams, University of Birmingham Guild of Students; Andrew Wilson, Edinburgh University Students' Association; Ansh Sachdeva, Bolton Students' Union; Megan Price, Worcester Students' Union; Tuna Kunt, City, University of London Students' Union; Leo Buckley, Peter Symonds College Students' Union; Henry Setter, Greenwich Students' Union; Helder Costa, University of Sunderland Students' Union

Social media:

  • https://twitter.com/VPEricaRamos
  • https://www.facebook.com/erikaxramos

Manifesto:

Giving Students Power 

ERICA RAMOS For NUS President 

No barriers. No borders. No bulls**t. 

Students are broke. The housing system is a mess. There’s a mental health epidemic. Campuses are unsafe. Our climate is in crisis. 

We won’t fix all of this by bickering over motions and squabbling over tactics. We need to switch things up, working together to give students the tools they need to make change in their classroom, communities, and the world. 

It’s our education system and our future. So, I’m standing to give students real power - building their rights, and working with everyone who cares about education. 

Join me and let’s make a real movement - an NUS that’s confident, effective and relevant, harnessing the anger and energy of seven million members. 

It’s time to change the world again, it’s time to #RoarForRamos. 

Giving students power to tackle the Mental Health crisis 

Crippling student debt, being broke day to day, soaring cost of low quality housing and the impact of social media - no wonder there’s a Mental Health Crisis. 

Universities do not have a plan, counselling waiting times are measured in months, it’s even worse in colleges and apprenticeships, those on less than minimum wage, who would not dare admit they have a problem. 

I’ll lead the fightback - giving SUs the tools to argue for change around the root causes of this issue. Students should be empowered to make changes to their classrooms, their curriculums, their learning spaces so we can transform our mental health. 

In 2 years’ time there will be: 

  • A 24- hour student mental health helpline and a legal right to a counselling appointment within 2 weeks. 

  • A statutory mental health prevention and action plan in every registered further and higher education provider in the UK - consulted with and signed off by their SU.  

  • Real increases to maintenance income in every part of the UK and for every type of student.  

Giving students power through strong Students' Unions 

We only end up with a powerful student movement if we build the power of our unions. But in the past NUS has been embarrassed by its members, telling unions what to do rather than unions driving NUS. And our influence is declining on the national stage. 

SUs change people’s lives. They don’t just do things for people but give students platforms to act collectively and creatively to make the world a better place. A new, stronger NUS needs to learn from SUs - not the other way around. 

From Day One I’ll make a positive and powerful case for the impact that SU’s have - on access, recruitment, retention, satisfaction and employability. And I’ll talk up our unions relentlessly, championing SUs to VCs, Principals, employers, trade unions and government.  

In 2 years’ time I will: 

  • Create a powerful new deal for SUs which will deliver a 20% increase in funding for SUs. 

  • Secure legislation or regulation in every part of the UK that guarantees students representation and autonomous SUs. 

  • Lead a new SU Impact Agenda, ensuring student voices and their lived experience are at the heart of decision making in their education system and government. 

Giving students the power to shape our country’s future. 

There are two choices. A closed off, negative and hostile country, or an open, inclusive and progressive nation.  The choice is ours if we help students take it. 

Because we’ll be more affected by Brexit than anybody else, we need to put students and young people at the heart of what happens next. As President, I will lead national work that defends and extends international and EU students’ rights, fights to defend ERASMUS, fights to defend freedom of movement, fights to defend research funding, fights against xenophobia and above all, demands a future to look forward to.  

Education must be borderless - and so I’ll also prioritise collaboration with our European partners and build a coalition that can win a global future for our country. 

In 2 years’ time I will: 

  • Deliver the exact same benefits of EU membership to students after Brexit. 

  • Scrap unnecessary NHS charges and minimum income requirements for international students. 

  • Have regulation for international students’ charges, fees and agents. 

Students powering a Sustainable Future 

There is a climate emergency now. Students and our education sector need to show leadership. Many universities and colleges have taken steps, but we still need to push further. We need universities to divest from fossil fuels, to take proper action to become carbon neutral, and to prioritise funding for green research.  

The NUS will support SUs to advance our agenda. Together, we will put students and young people at the forefront of the change.    

In 2 years’ time I will: 

  • Ensure that the UK tertiary education sector will have committed to become fully carbon neutral by 2030.  

  • Provide more high- quality vegan options for SUs through NUS Services. 

  • Make Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS) a cornerstone of our movement, through securing the return of green funding for SU’s.  

Let's give power to the students, power to SUs and power to NUS. I believe that with me as your National President, we can achieve that power together. Vote Erica Ramos, #1 for NUS National President. 

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